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Legal Billing Software

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Clio logo
 
Clio is a cloud-based legal practice management solution suitable for small to large law firms. The platform enables legal firms to track important deadlines, manage cases and documents and bill and collect from clients. The time... Read More
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Clio is a cloud-based legal practice management solution suitable for small to large law firms. The platform enables legal firms to track important deadlines, manage cases and documents and bill and collect from clients. The time... Read More
 
PracticePanther Legal logo
 
PracticePanther Legal Software is a legal management solution for small to midsize practices specializing in areas including bankruptcy law, personal injury, divorce, estate planning, litigation, criminal law and many more. The system... Read More
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PracticePanther Legal Software is a legal management solution for small to midsize practices specializing in areas including bankruptcy law, personal injury, divorce, estate planning, litigation, criminal law and many more. The system... Read More
 
MyCase logo
 
MyCase is a cloud-based legal management solution that helps attorneys in small size law firms to manage communications with their clients and carry out daily business operations. The solution also provides functionalities for accounting... Read More
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87%
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MyCase is a cloud-based legal management solution that helps attorneys in small size law firms to manage communications with their clients and carry out daily business operations. The solution also provides functionalities for accounting... Read More
 
TimeSolv Legal logo
 
TimeSolv is a cloud-based legal time tracking and billing solution that caters to law firms, accountants, consultants, architects, and freelancers, helping them manage daily business operations. TimeSolv integrates project management... Read More
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TimeSolv is a cloud-based legal time tracking and billing solution that caters to law firms, accountants, consultants, architects, and freelancers, helping them manage daily business operations. TimeSolv integrates project management... Read More
 
AbacusLaw logo
 
Abacus Law is both cloud-based and on-premise case automation solution designed explicitly for legal practices. The system works as a practice management tool that helps in managing workflows including billing, time and accounting... Read More
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75%
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Abacus Law is both cloud-based and on-premise case automation solution designed explicitly for legal practices. The system works as a practice management tool that helps in managing workflows including billing, time and accounting... Read More

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Zola Suite logo
 
Zola Suite is a cloud-based legal practice management solution for single users as well as small and midsize law firms. Key features include task management, built-in email, document management, client portals, a calendar, contact... Read More
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97%
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Zola Suite is a cloud-based legal practice management solution for single users as well as small and midsize law firms. Key features include task management, built-in email, document management, client portals, a calendar, contact... Read More
 
Smokeball logo
 
Smokeball is a cloud-based legal practice management for small firms that can be used in a variety of specialities. Key features include case management, contact management, calendaring, time tracking, billing and accounting.  Smokeball... Read More
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83%
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Smokeball is a cloud-based legal practice management for small firms that can be used in a variety of specialities. Key features include case management, contact management, calendaring, time tracking, billing and accounting.  Smokeball... Read More
 
SmartAdvocate logo
 
Conceptualized by a partner at a personal injury law firm, SmartAdvocate is a legal management platform that offers flexible deployment options and a modular suite of applications.  In addition to case management, attorneys and their... Read More
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Conceptualized by a partner at a personal injury law firm, SmartAdvocate is a legal management platform that offers flexible deployment options and a modular suite of applications.  In addition to case management, attorneys and their... Read More
 
Case.one logo
 
Case.one is a cloud-based case management solution designed for legal businesses of all sizes. Key features include a client portal, time tracking, workflow automation, reporting, billing and invoicing. Case.one helps practitioners... Read More
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Case.one is a cloud-based case management solution designed for legal businesses of all sizes. Key features include a client portal, time tracking, workflow automation, reporting, billing and invoicing. Case.one helps practitioners... Read More
 
Essential logo
 
Essential by Anaqua is a cloud-based legal management solution that helps law firms of all sizes to manage their patents, inventions. Key features include case management, document management, calendaring, docketing, time tracking,... Read More
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Essential by Anaqua is a cloud-based legal management solution that helps law firms of all sizes to manage their patents, inventions. Key features include case management, document management, calendaring, docketing, time tracking,... Read More

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HoudiniEsq logo
 
HoudiniEsq is a hybrid law practice management solution that caters to law practices of all sizes and provides them the functionalities to manage various business routines which include cases, billing, invoicing and several other... Read More
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HoudiniEsq is a hybrid law practice management solution that caters to law practices of all sizes and provides them the functionalities to manage various business routines which include cases, billing, invoicing and several other... Read More
 
CosmoLex logo
 
CosmoLex is a cloud-based legal management solution that offers features including time tracking, billing, trust accounting, task and document management. The solution connects all modules so that users do not have to enter information... Read More
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86%
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CosmoLex is a cloud-based legal management solution that offers features including time tracking, billing, trust accounting, task and document management. The solution connects all modules so that users do not have to enter information... Read More
 
Rocket Matter logo
 
Rocket Matter is a cloud-based legal billing and management solution designed to cater small and midsize law practices. It features time and billing management, calendar, document management, payments and collaboration management modules. Rocket... Read More
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68%
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Rocket Matter is a cloud-based legal billing and management solution designed to cater small and midsize law practices. It features time and billing management, calendar, document management, payments and collaboration management modules. Rocket... Read More
 
Firm Central logo
 
Firm Central by Thomson Reuters is a cloud-based legal management solution. It features matter management, time and billing, scheduling and document assembly. All Firm Central packages offer client, matter, document and task management.... Read More
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Firm Central by Thomson Reuters is a cloud-based legal management solution. It features matter management, time and billing, scheduling and document assembly. All Firm Central packages offer client, matter, document and task management.... Read More
 
Actionstep logo
 
Actionstep is a cloud-based legal practice management solution designed for growing and midsize firms. The integrated solution offers tools for managing cases, billing, invoicing and accounting as well as enables businesses to automate... Read More
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Actionstep is a cloud-based legal practice management solution designed for growing and midsize firms. The integrated solution offers tools for managing cases, billing, invoicing and accounting as well as enables businesses to automate... Read More

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MerusCase logo
 
MerusCase is a cloud-based legal practice management solution for small, midsize and large legal firms and businesses. It is HIPAA compliant and offers document management, time tracking, billing, calendaring and communication tools. The... Read More
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MerusCase is a cloud-based legal practice management solution for small, midsize and large legal firms and businesses. It is HIPAA compliant and offers document management, time tracking, billing, calendaring and communication tools. The... Read More
 
Law Ruler Legal Practice Management logo
 
Law Ruler is a cloud-based case intake solution with a suite of features for law firms. It offers case management on a standalone basis, as well as document management, contact management, calendaring and docketing, billing and invoicing... Read More
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Law Ruler is a cloud-based case intake solution with a suite of features for law firms. It offers case management on a standalone basis, as well as document management, contact management, calendaring and docketing, billing and invoicing... Read More
 
ProLaw logo
 
Suitable for mid-size and large legal practices, ProLaw by Thomson Reuters Elite helps users to manage the law firm management process. The financial management application automates the time tracking and expense management process... Read More
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Suitable for mid-size and large legal practices, ProLaw by Thomson Reuters Elite helps users to manage the law firm management process. The financial management application automates the time tracking and expense management process... Read More
 
App4Legal logo
 
App4Legal is a law practice management solution designed for lawyers, paralegal, assistants and managers. The product caters both to law firms, as well as in-house legal departments. It offers corporate law, contact management, litigation... Read More
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App4Legal is a law practice management solution designed for lawyers, paralegal, assistants and managers. The product caters both to law firms, as well as in-house legal departments. It offers corporate law, contact management, litigation... Read More
 
Coyote Analytics logo
 
Coyote Analytics is a comprehensive financial software system specifically built to meet the needs of law firms. The solution is available in both cloud-based and on-premise deployment formats. It features modules for managing contacts,... Read More
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Coyote Analytics is a comprehensive financial software system specifically built to meet the needs of law firms. The solution is available in both cloud-based and on-premise deployment formats. It features modules for managing contacts,... Read More
 

Buyer's Guide

by Eileen O'Loughlin,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: June 13, 2018


Tracking billable hours using paper-based methods, or even spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel, can be tedious and time-consuming. What’s worse, these methods create lots of potential for human error. Even after you’ve calculated billable hours, you’ll still need to generate invoices and stay on top of client accounts.

Accurate tracking of billable hours ensures a steady flow of revenue for your law firm or private practice. To automate the billing process and make sure billable time isn’t slipping through the cracks, you’ll need dedicated legal billing software. There are many different types of software that can streamline time tracking and billing for lawyers and legal departments. This guide will help you understand the major categories and features.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Best-of-Breed Options vs. Practice Management Suites
Common Functionality of Legal Billing Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?

Best-of-Breed Options vs. Practice Management Suites

Because billing is foundational to a law office’s operations, there are a number of stand-alone solutions on the market. Time tracking and billing modules are also integrated into more comprehensive practice management software suites. A practice management suite is a single system that manages all areas of your law practice.

If you need extensive case management, document management or contact management functionality in addition to time tracking and billing, you should definitely look into practice management suites. Some suites even integrate time tracking capabilities throughout the system’s modules. For example, you can track time in a document management module without having to use a timer.

If all you need is a better way to track billable hours, look into the many stand-alone solutions on the market created for this purpose.

Common Functionality of Legal Billing Software

Functionality of legal billing software can be divided into three categories: time tracking; bill preparation and payment; and general ledger.

Time Tracking Functionality

Calendar Calendar may be included, or software may integrate with a calendar application (e.g., Microsoft Outlook). Events created in your calendar can automatically feed into calculations of billable hours. In some systems, calendar information can be used to fill in gaps in billable time.
Multiple fee schedules/billing arrangements Allows users to bill time in hourly, contingency, transactional, user-defined, flat fee (monthly, annual or user-defined), retainer fee and split fee increments.
Billing rates by timekeeper level Allows users to bill by timekeeper level: e.g., individual attorney, partner, associate, practice area type and client levels. Primarily used by larger firms.
Automated time capture Draws on calendar data, documents and tasks to fill in gaps in your billable time.
Stopwatch timers Users can set timers to track each minute of billable time.
Activity codes Allows users to assign activity codes to billable time, including the codes established by the American Bar Association (ABA). Users can also define their own codes.
Expense tracking Allows users to track expenses associated with clients’ accounts.
Missing time reporting Allows the system to report on gaps in your billable time.
Screenshot of time records in Actionstep

Time records in Actionstep

Bill Preparation and Payment Functionality

Client invoicing Automatically generates client invoices based on the billable time recorded in the system. Bills can be delivered via email, or electronically in Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard (LEDES) format.
Customizable invoice templates Allows users to customize invoices with their firm’s logo.
Past due notices Automatically notifies clients when bills are past due. Some systems can also calculate late fees automatically.
Low retainer reminders Sends automatic notices when clients’ retainer fees are getting low.
Credit card processing and EFT Some systems allow users to accept credit card payments. Other systems allow for electronic fund transfer (EFT) payments via automated clearing house (ACH) processing as well as PayPal gateways.

General Ledger Functionality

Client account balances Users can record invoices and payments and maintain account balances for all clients.
IRS filings Automatically prepares IRS filings on the basis of information stored in the system.
Trust accounting Allows users to manage trust accounts for clients and even author checks within the system.
Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Accounting IOLTA, which helps raise money for legal aid for those in poverty via interest earned on client funds, entails special accounting requirements that you can manage with your software. The software protects against accounting mistakes and automatically records paper trails in case of an audit.
Financial reporting The system can automatically generate reports on information such as outstanding balances and client inactivity.
Screenshot of recording payments in Rocket Matter

Recording payments in Rocket Matter

What Type of Buyer Are You?

The type of legal billing software you choose will depend, in part, on your specific needs as a buyer. For example:

  • Solo practitioner. If you have your own practice, you’ll really only need the most basic time-tracking capabilities. While features such as automatic time capture are obviously useful to all attorneys, they’re confined to expensive systems that might not be the best fit for solo practitioners.
  • Small firms. Small firms should think critically about whether to go with a stand-alone billing solution or a practice management system. If you have special accounting, mobile access and/or payment needs, you may need to invest in a more robust solution.
  • Large firms. Large firms will need extensive functionality for managing individual time-keepers and clients. Reporting features are also crucial for large firms to identify revenue opportunities. Finally, some legal billing systems include capabilities like those found in customer relationship management systems, which can be necessary for managing lots of clients.
 

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